Feb. 23, 2008
WASHINGTON - In a game that featured 16 ties, 13 lead changes and an overtime session, the American University women's basketball took control of first place in the Patriot League - at least for a few hours - with a 76-71 overtime win over Holy Cross Saturday in Bender Arena.
American moves to 9-3 in the Patriot League after their eighth straight win, taking a half-game lead over Lehigh in the league standings. Lehigh currently is 8-3 in league play, and the Mountain Hawks play tonight at 7 p.m. versus Lafayette.
The Eagles nearly didn't get to overtime. With 25 seconds left in regulation, the Eagles had possession after an offensive rebound by Talicia Jackson, in which she dove out of bounds to save the ball to Pam Stanfield. However, the Eagles couldn't get a shot off and with just three seconds left turned the ball over to the Crusaders. Elizabeth Campbell's half-court desperation heave at the buzzer hit the backboard and the front rim before falling to the floor.
In the overtime session, the Crusaders scored first, on a layup from Kathy Gruzynski. Freshman Liz Leer tied it up for at 65 for the Eagles with a nice double-move in the paint. Holy Cross' Laura Aloisi then hit a three-pointer with 2:57 left, and it looked bleak for AU after Bethany O'Dell hit one-of-two free throws to give the visitors a four-point advantage.
However, Jackson hit a three-pointer with 2:07 left to make in a one-point game, and the Eagles retook the lead on their next possession when Stephanie N'Garsanet hit a layup while being fouled, then hit the ensuing free throw to make the score 71-69. After a missed layup by the Crusaders' Briana McFadden, Stanfield hit a runner in the lane to push the advantage to four points, 73-69. Gruzynski pulled the visitors to within two on another tough shot in the paint, but Stanfield hit three-of-four free throws in the last 30 seconds to seal the win.
Gruzynski finished with a game-high 20 points, hitting eight-of-nine shots, to lead the Crusaders. Bethany O'Dell and Laura Aloisi had 13 points a piece, and Campbell notched 12 and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. McFadden, who came in as the league's second-leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, was held to just eight points on two-for-18 shooting.
Meanwhile, the Eagles had five players in double-digits, led by Hayes' 17 points. Stanfield had 15 points, Jackson 14, Leer 12 and N'Garsanet rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points. Maggie Smith-Davidson led the Eagles with a game-high 11 rebounds.
American stays at home for its next game, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, versus Navy. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip. The Eagles then travel to Lafayette on March 1 to close out the regular season. Tickets for the Navy game are available for purchase by clicking here or by calling (202) 885-TIXX.